Eleanor De, about 2 years ago
Founded in 1944, Landsec is the largest listed commercial property company in the UK. Previously known as the Land Securities Group, the newly rebranded Landsec is a people-focused company which emphasises the importance of its people, its partners and their experiences, seeking to shape the future by anticipating changing needs, understanding lifestyles, and building communities that people want to live in.
"Landsec is showing real leadership in the sector - they invest in economic and social priorities supporting people in the communities in which they operate" - Andy Cook Chief Executive, Centre for Social Justice
As part of their work, Landsec are committed to supporting disadvantaged people by providing training, work placements and a direct route into a job. Their Community Employment Programme is a package of employment initiatives which targets those furthest from the job market, including homeless people, serving prisoners and ex-offenders. They are aiming to help 1,200 people secure jobs by 2020 and are well on their way to achieving this, having helped over 1,000 people into work since 2011. In one year (2016-2017), 183 people were helped into work through the programme. This involves helping individuals find work in construction, on their sites and with their partners, as well as helping people into work in customer service roles at shopping centres through partnering with local authorities, charities and specialist training providers.
In 2015, Landsec partnered with Bounce Back when they collectively launched a dry lining training centre in HMP Brixton. Then, in 2016, they worked with Alandale Scaffolding to launch a scaffolding training centre in Brixton where prisoners can sign up to a 20 week to qualify for a Level 2 diploma in scaffolding. Alandale provides all of the necessary equipment and also guarantees all graduates of the programme a job interview upon their release.
These programmes serve the dual purposes of tackling skill shortages in industry and breaking the cycle of crime to reduce reoffending rates. Matthew Warner, Managing Director at Alandale Scaffolding, explained that when prisoners leave prison they face multiple barriers to employment. Significantly, without a CSC (Construction Skills Certificate) they cannot get a job in construction. Landsec's programme aims to rectify this so ex-offenders can build lives for themselves more easily upon release.
Charlie, an inmate in HMP Brixton, felt that the scheme was a very positive influence on his attitude, commenting that he 'can't wait to get out and go back to work'. Indeed, the programme (which can take 12 prisoners at any one time) is so popular that 75 people are currently on the waiting list. To date, 40 inmates have taken part (including the current cohort), with 24 who have finished and 10 are now in full-time employment.
Recently, Landsec, Bounceback and Alandale also ran an open day to demonstrate to representatives from other prisons how the programme works in the hope it can be exported around the country.
"It makes good business sense: we need a skilled construction workforce for the future and there's so much untapped talent within the prison state" - Debbie Akehurst , Head of Economy and Communities at Landsec.